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Temperature and food constraints in wintering birds - an experimental approach in montane Mediterranean oakwoods

AuthorsCarrascal, Luis M. ; Villén Pérez, Sara ; Seoane, Javier
Issue Date2012
PublisherAkadémiai Kiadó (Budapest)
CitationCommunity Ecology, (13):221- 229 (2012)
AbstractAlthough energy is a major driver of global patterns of biodiversity and species distribution, the test of species-energy relationships needs further development using fine-grained approaches involving different functional groups of species and small geographical scales of known characteristics (habitat heterogeneity, food availability, direct measures of temperature). We carried out an experiment over a broad range of habitat structure and environmental conditions to disentangle the effects of two different energy measures on the small-scale variation of habitat use in winter: one directly related to food resources (manipulated food availability with artificial feeders), and another related to thermoregulatory costs (night temperature). The spatial variation in abundance of a guild of tree-gleaning birds wintering in montane Mediterranean oakwoods of Central Spain was positively related to both components of energy availability (temperature and food resources), even in these mild Mediterranean montane forest of southern Europe. Spatial variation in consumption of food from artificial feeders was negatively related to spatial variation in temperature. The influence of food availability on bird abundance was mediated by vegetation structure, with a lower influence in maturer oakwoods. This study highlights the important role of the energy-related factors, over habitat structure, in determining winter abundance of the studied tree-gleaning guild.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1556/ComEc.13.2012.2.12
issn: 1585-8553
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